Sentences in August and September
We start the year off slowly with very simple sentences. In August and September, I usually start with just one sentence for the students to manipulate. They read it over and over with a variety of pointers (which are a BIG deal.) The first week of school we do this activity as a whole group. Simple! We take turns with the pointer. Then at the end of the week, I usually say, “Friends! We have had so much fun with this activity. What if we make this one of our stations?” They always cheer, “YES!”
A few weeks later, I might say, “Hey friends, when you go to this station, let’s write a sentence! Let me show you how.” This is a whole group activity. Simple! However, the product is not always stellar. That’s okay! We have all year to perfect it.
In August and September, the words are hard to read. The illustrations need a bit of interpretation. In my opinion, that is just fine. If we wait for perfection… we will be waiting until January. Nope! We can practice and get better NOW!
After a few weeks of this, I might nudge in while a student is doing this station and do a little teaching. I might show them how to make sentence neater. I might show them how to make smart color choices.
Then during our center debrief (a MUST), I might say, “Friends, do you know what I say Kelly doing at the pocket chart station (where I have the sentences)? I say her working REALLY hard to make her letters clear. You know what? That is what writers do and it makes my heart happy. Look at THIS!” Then I show it to them. Oh my MERCY! They ALL want to make my heart happy and we elevate the work. Slowly, but raise the bar… we raise the expectation.
October and beyond
Around January, I plant another little seed, “Friends, we are getting so good at writing sentences. I want to challenge you to write TWO sentences when you are at the sentence station.
These activities are also part of the Predictable Sentence Writing Unit. Students write and illustrate the sentence.
And we also have emergent readers we write.